WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) – A woman died after being set on fire Monday morning by her son on Lyons Street in Winston-Salem, according to a Winston-Salem Police Department news release.
At 10:39 a.m., officers responded to 1946 Lyons Street when they were told someone had been set on fire.
Arriving officers found 72-year-old Joanna Parker on the porch of her home. She had been set on fire, and police said officers were able to extinguish the fire.
The investigation revealed that her son, James Parker, 48, of Winston-Salem, was upset with her, poured gasoline on her and set her on fire.
She was taken to a hospital where she died, police said.
James was taken into custody and was charged with murder. He is in the Forsyth County Detention Center with no bond.
Adora Gonzalez is Joanna’s great niece. She lives across the street from the Parkers and saw everything happen from her kitchen window.
“I don’t think I will ever get over it,” Gonzalez said. “I heard my aunt screaming ‘put it out’ in pain, and her whole porch was engulfed in flames.”
Investigators were on the scene for hours. They blocked the home off with crime scene tape, going in and out collecting evidence. There was also a forensics unit at the home. FOX8 crews spotted what appeared to be a red gasoline can in the front yard.
Joanna’s family members said she sustained third and fourth-degree burns. She was wheelchair bound.
“That’s one of the worst ways to go,” Gonzalez said. “You must really not like somebody to have to do that to them.”
Gonzalez said James and Joanna didn’t have the best relationship, but she never expected things would end like this.
“His mom would yell at him a lot, and he wouldn’t do anything back,” she said. “He wouldn’t really say anything back. But I always knew that she wasn’t nice to him. I just didn’t know it would end up like this.”
Family members said James suffers from some mental health issues. He’s due in court Tuesday.
The WSPD is asking for the public’s assistance in this case. Anyone with any information regarding this incident or similar crimes is asked to call the WSPD at (336) 773-7700, Crime Stoppers at (336) 727-2800, or En Espanol (336) 728-3904. Text-A-Tip Program at (336) 276-1717 allows you to anonymously text tips, photos, and videos to the WSPD. You can also view “Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem Forsyth County” on Facebook.